Manufacturing outlook up for Phila. region

Ames True Temper of Harrisburg produces lawn and garden products. The Fed surveyed 80 manufacturers in the region.
Ames True Temper of Harrisburg produces lawn and garden products. The Fed surveyed 80 manufacturers in the region. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 22, 2013

Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region is looking up, according to a key survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The survey's broadest index turned positive for June, compared with a negative reading last month, the bank said Thursday.

The closely watched survey by the Philly Fed also shows that manufacturing executives in the region expect growth over the next six months.

The report certainly had no positive influence on the markets, which were rocked on concerns that the Federal Reserve is winding down its measures to stimulate the economy and news that credit was tightening in China. The Dow lost 353 points, or 2.34 percent, on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Fed survey's broadest measure, called its "diffusion index of current activity," increased to 12.5, from negative 5.2 in May. The new number is the highest reading since April 2011. A positive number indicates growth, while a negative reflects industry contraction.

Labor-market conditions were a notable exception to the generally positive outlook. The survey of 80 manufacturers in eastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and Delaware showed continued employment weakness.

Although the survey's employment index improved three points to negative 5.4, it was the third consecutive negative reading in that category. More firms reported employment decreases than reported increases, the bank said.

In late May, the U.S. Labor Department said the unemployment rate in the Philadelphia region fell to 7.7 percent in April from 8.0 percent a year earlier - figures that were not seasonally adjusted.

About half of the firms told the Philly Fed this month that they expected to increase production over the next six months, while a similar number said they did not expect to do so.


Contact Reid Kanaley

at rkanaley@phillynews.com, 215-854-5114, or on Twitter @ReidKan.

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